This is not a legal survey, nor is it intended to be or replace one.

Do you need a permit to build a deck? And fail-proof ways to get it

Understanding Building Permits for Decks

In the realm of construction and home improvement, building a deck can be an exciting project that adds both aesthetic appeal and functionality to your property. However, before diving headfirst into your deck-building endeavor, it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements associated with obtaining a building permit. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the intricacies of building permits for decks, ensuring that you are well-informed and prepared to tackle your project while staying compliant with the law.

The Significance of Building Permits

Building permits serve as official authorization from your local government to commence construction or make structural changes to your property. These permits are not meant to impede your project but rather to ensure that the work you’re undertaking adheres to safety standards, local zoning regulations, and building codes. When it comes to deck construction, securing a building permit is often a mandatory step, and neglecting to do so can lead to costly legal complications down the road.

Determining the Need for a Building Permit

Before embarking on your deck-building journey, you must ascertain whether your project requires a building permit. The criteria for permit necessity may vary depending on your location, the size of the deck, and its proximity to property boundaries. Generally, if your deck will be elevated a certain height above the ground or will be attached to your home, a building permit is likely required. Consulting your local building department or municipality is advisable to determine the specific regulations governing your area.

The Application Process

Acquiring a building permit for your deck involves a streamlined yet essential application process. Here’s a brief overview of the typical steps:

  1. Plan Preparation: Begin by creating detailed plans of your proposed deck, including dimensions, materials, and structural details. These plans will serve as the blueprint for your project.
  2. Documentation Submission: Submit your plans along with the necessary application forms to your local building department. This step might involve a nominal application fee.
  3. Review and Approval: The building department will review your plans to ensure they align with safety codes and zoning regulations. If modifications are necessary, they will provide feedback for revisions.
  4. Permit Issuance: Once your plans are approved and any required fees are paid, you’ll receive your building permit. This permit should be prominently displayed at the construction site.

Deck Safety and Compliance

The primary objective of building permits is to guarantee the safety of structures. When constructing a deck, adherence to safety standards is paramount. This involves using appropriate materials, ensuring proper structural integrity, and complying with load-bearing requirements. Following these guidelines not only ensures the safety of occupants but also increases the longevity of your deck.

Potential Consequences of Skipping Permits

While it might be tempting to forego the permit process in the interest of time or cost savings, doing so can have serious repercussions. If an unpermitted deck is discovered, you could face fines, legal actions, and the possibility of having to dismantle the structure entirely. Moreover, unpermitted additions can complicate property sales, as potential buyers might be deterred by the lack of proper documentation.


In summary, obtaining a building permit for your deck is a crucial step to ensure the safety, legality, and longevity of your construction project. By following the guidelines set forth by your local building department and adhering to safety codes, you can embark on your deck-building journey with confidence. Remember, the process might involve some paperwork and fees, but the peace of mind and compliance with regulations are well worth the investment.

This comprehensive guide provides you with the essential insights you need to navigate the world of building permits for decks. Armed with this knowledge, you are well-prepared to embark on your deck construction journey while adhering to regulations, ensuring safety, and enhancing the value of your property. Remember, compliance is not just a legal requirement but a vital aspect of responsible and successful construction.